Ocean County Press Release
Freeholders Request Permanent Solution
TOMS RIVER – While thousands of Ocean County homeowners struggle to rebuild and recover from Superstorm Sandy, the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders is urging the federal government to delay implementing flood insurance increases until a permanent solution to the issue can be developed.
"The recent bipartisan vote in the U.S. Senate was just the first step in providing a four-year delay in implementing the new flood insurance rates," said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. "In passing this resolution we are calling upon the House of Representatives to do its part and also approve the four-year delay."
Vicari noted that a delay would provide a four year period for government leaders to come up with a solution that would not choke homeowners financially and would make the flood insurance program solvent.
Under the Biggert-Waters Act as it currently stands, flood insurance premiums will increase for homeowners by 20 to 25 percent per year.
"This increase would be an intolerable burden for homeowners ravaged by Superstorm Sandy, putting them at risk of never being able to afford to rebuild and go home again," Vicari said. "This burden would have a devastating effect on our citizens and subsequently our economy.
"We need a permanent solution that will fix the flood insurance program without placing a greater financial burden on the backs of those residents who are struggling to rebuild their lives," Vicari said. "I am hopeful that the solution can be found in the four-year delay that is being requested."
Vicari said that some 55 percent of all Americans live within 50 miles of a coastline, and with home values directly correlated to flood insurance premiums, it is imperative that the delay be approved and a permanent solution be found.
"We don't want our residents to see their home values decline because of flood insurance premiums," Vicari said. "This program is supposed to protect our homeowners not hurt them."
Copies of the resolution have been sent to U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker, all of New Jersey's Congressional leaders, Gov. Chris Christie, state Legislators that represent Ocean County and the mayors of Ocean County's 33 municipalities.
"We need to work together as one voice," Vicari said. "We need to help our citizens as they work to get through this very difficult time and a dramatic increase in flood insurance premiums is not the answer."